Saturday, April 18, 2009

Werewolves on Wheels

Unofficial biker movie with a supernatural element continues this week here at the Cavalcade with 1971's Werewolves on Wheels. This is one of those that I bought a hundred years ago when it was given a DVD release and I never watched it until now, because it fits in perfectly with Blood Freak and Psychomania, at least to me. I was waiting for the right moment. I was also questioning all these years, hmmm....I wonder how the werewolves get on wheels. If you were wondering the same thing, allow me to tell you. 

The Devil's Advocates are a mean, nasty, dirty, tarot card reading (I'm serious) biker gang lost in the desert of maybe Arizona. I watched this last night after being hungover all day long, like brutally so, and having to wait on tables for ten hours, so if sometimes details appear to missing, perhaps they were or perhaps I missed something. Hard to determine. They are basically roaming around the desert looking for places to crash and do drugs and have sex. Adam is the leader and Helen is his old lady. Helen asks Tarot (the card reader, obviously, but the bikers pronounce his name Ter-oh) to read her cards and tell her how she's gonna die. Tarot is one to discriminate, 'I don't like readin' 'em for chicks, anyhow' but complies at Adam's insistence. It turns out that Helen will die atop a tower struck by lightning. She's cool with this and they get back on their bikes in search of another party spot. 

They come to a grassy, hilly area and roll down a hill, after disembarking from their bikes. Adam invokes the devil by yelling, 'Hey Lucifer' and then tells his group that they're there to snort cocaine and drop LSD with the devil. Sounds fun. I wonder if they'll share their drugs with the devil or if the devil brings his own drugs when he parties with bikers. Then they're all chilling around a fountain when some monks show up bearing bread and wine. Everyone's all like 'Gimme some bread' and 'Pass me the wine' and no one thinks any of this is weird at all. Then the main monk dude takes a strand of Helen's hair and puts it into his star shaped belt buckle, says some goofy shit, and everyone passes out from the (drugged) wine. 

Cut to inside a temple. The main monk (his name is One) is sacrificing a cat (which I don't like, it's clearly fake, but still, can't stand it) in the name of the devil. In other words, he's callin' up Lucifer proper. Unlike Adam's crude shouts of Hey Lucifer, this monk guy knows how it's done. He says some incantations, spreads the cat blood around, mumbles some stuff in another language and chants a bit. Then Helen awakens from the group and joins the monks in the temple where she does a nakey dance with a live snake and human skull. She eats some bread with some cat blood on it and everyone chants 'You are one with him' until Adam and crew come in and fuck up all the bikers and carry Helen to 'safety.' Oh, and the penis made of wax in which Helen's image was carved melts in a fire, causing her much duress

They ride out of there and proceed on to the next night when Helen does a really weird dance and freaks out again. Adam chases her off into the night and they make out and she bites him on the neck. Meanwhile, Mouse (one of the bikers) is in pursuit of Shirley (the resident biker slut). As he chases her, she intones, 'Why don't you rape meeeee! hehehe!' Fully prepared to do so, Mouse doesn't get the chance because by now, Adam is full on wolf man and rips Mouse and Shirley to shreds. The next morning, Adam is seemingly unaware of the fate that has befallen him, the gang discover the bodies of Mouse and Shirley. They decide to bury them and give them an impromptu funeral. Shirley's eulogy is a single sentence befitting of the woman; they remark 'She was a great freak, man.' Truer words never spoken and I'm sure Shirley would have been proud. 

Next party, in a junkyard. Adam decides someone needs to stay watch overnight because of Shirley and Mouse's deaths. They set the cars in the junkyard on fire and Movie (another gang member) takes his watch. Tarot warns everyone that evil is afoot but Adam just offers him a shotgun of weed and then tells him, 'Remember Florida? Just like a couple of teddy bears rollin' down the mountain' as he grabs Tarot and pushes him down an embankment. Movie gets killed by Adam after his transformation and then some of the other gang members turn into wolf men and some of them don't make it. I was getting pretty sleepy right towards the end so I was kinda in and out. 

So I think there was only one instance of a werewolf actually being on wheels and I think he actually explodes too, I might have to go back and watch the final act. Also, interesting to note, as I said before, Adam and the subsequent other werewolves aren't werewolves, they're wolf man, and pretty sweet looking ones at that. Kind of a mash up between a Paul Naschy wolf man and a traditional Universal wolf man but in biker garb. Also, the bikers are effective bikers. While Adam and Tarot share most of the dialogue, the others just sort of shout observations or requests at certain times - 'gimme wine,' 'anyone want an upper,' 'what a scary night' and so on. We never get to really know any of them.  

The women in the group mainly Helen and Shirley, plus two other young ladies, don't ride on the back of the bikes with the guys, or have their own bikes (like in Psychomania), they follow behind the guys in a rickety old pickup. With the exception of Helen, who is clearly Adam's woman, the others are simply there to be used by the men whenever the men see fit. They seem happy with their station as biker babes, and we never really get to know them either. You could look at it as Helen being the cause of all their troubles, since she was the one chosen to the be the Bride of the Devil, but then again, it was Adam that led them the monk's sanctuary in the first place. 

So I learned a few things, because all biker movies are educational in nature, and a few things were reinforced for me by watching this movie. Bikers are mean, knew that. Bikers drink beer, ok, cool. Bikers treat women like shit, yep, check. Bikers read tarot cards, ah, that's news. Bikers turn into werewolves after visiting druid temples and invoking the spirit of the devil to snort coke with them, yeah, didn't know this one before, but cool, now I do. Now I want to start a motorcycle gang where we all dress up like werewolves and ride around. Because there wasn't much of them riding around as werewolves, which was promised by the title and cover art. Minor disappointment, though, because this was a grainy, nasty, fun little time. I like my biker flicks with equal parts biker action and supernatural Satanic rituals. Werewolves on Wheels brings it.  


  1. Another great review in what has been a great themed week. It's made my idea of "Sonny Chiba Month" all the more appealing. Maybe you could do another one of these week's like the "Final Girl film club" and open it up to other like minded blog writers, to add thier thoughts on the chosen topic / genre.

    Can't wait to see what obsure you delight you have for us next time :)

  2. Thanks! Sounds good - I never set out to do a theme week or anything, but it's something to think about - it's one of those things that just happens on its own. I would like to have some sort of weekly feature - something's definitely in the works, and by the works, I mean something I'll start pondering after my fourth mimosa today :)

  3. Outside of the severe lack of werewolves on wheels in the flick, I think anyone reading the title of the flick should hopefully know what they are getting into lol.. I love it for what it is, and after waiting years to see it I wasnt disappointed at all, I was actually AMAZED that the film had such high production quality for a flick called Werewolves on Wheels!

  4. I really wanna see Psychomania but it's been on "short wait" status on Netflix for like a month, maybe longer. Do you own it? Speaking of which we gotta watch this one when I come out to visit. Drunk.

    Anyway, I like how you brought up the fact that no one can pronounce Tarot correctly. It kinda bugged me a little when I watched it but totally forgot to jot it down in my notes. And Helen had some serious dance moves. I wanna try 'em out the next time I go clubbin' which will be never.

  5. Oh, and if you haven't watched this with the directors commentary yet, you GOTTA. Dude is like laughing the whole time, but he does bring up some interesting stuff that they just forgot to put into the movie. He said that the whole werewolf thing at the end was supposed to be a hallucination. I guess the bikers were so fucked up on LSD that they thought Adam was a werewolf and killed him, that's why the "werewolf" freaked out at the end and rode the bike away... it was actually Adam running for is life because he didn't know why his own guys were trying to kill him. The director coulda been pulling it outta his ass, but who knows. Sounds cool nonetheless.